In the High Peaks

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The "Spring" semester starts Monday. Unfortunately, I am teaching only one class as enrollment is way down this semester and new adjuncts are left without classes to teach. I'm sad about it, but there's nothing to be done. I've volunteered to teach the Summer I (May-June) and Summer II (July-August) sessions.

This leaves me with extra time this winter and early spring. More time for everything else in my life, including reading.

No one in the world needs to hear that I'm loving The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson. How boring for visitors to my blog! To read about how I'm loving a global bestseller. It's a chunkster to boot.

But, with extra time in the offing, I've rekindled my interest in German novels. I have Bernhard Schlink's new book The Weekend from the library.

It has been a dream, perhaps more like a fantasy, to read German lit in German. So many novels are never translated, and I do long to read many of them. So is it back to my German language studies? Why, oh why, is it so hard to develop and sustain a reading knowledge of a foreign language? Have you ever tried?

One needs to persist, keep reading, keep studying, and never let up, particularly considering the age 55+ brain! This is the crux of the problem. Real life intervenes. The need to work, the need to relax and have fun--all impinge on consistent language study.


  1. Hope you enjoy the weekend I did a return to form for Schlink I thought ,all the best stu

  2. You definitely need be persistant! Between semesters I don't have anything to "force" me to study my French, so I make myself read French novels. It can be annoying because you do have to focus harder when you're reading something in another language. What I've noticed though is that the first chapter is always the worst. That's the chapter where you spend most of your time looking up words. After the first chapter, things go faster because you are more used to the author's writing style, and authors usually have a set of words that they use pretty repeatedly.

    Another tip to make it a bit more enjoyable-instead of looking up every word you don't know, only look it up if it's getting in the way of your comprehension of what's going on, or if you are seeing the word repeated regularly :)

    Even if you aren't fluent in German you can still read German novels :) And half the fun is learning new words, too!